Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Richard G. Jones, Jr.


There is a significant difference of the completion of college between minority students and white students. The achievement gap is influenced by race and socioeconomic status of the students. The purpose of my study was to examine the relationship between academic performance and achievement and sociocultural factors including race and socioeconomic status. My thesis will affirm previous research that recognizes a need for resources specifically dedicated to assist marginalized groups in higher education. It will bring attention to minority students, first-generation college students and students with a low socioeconomic status. The project includes a literature review that explores identity, intersectionality, microagressions, stereotype threat, labeling, impostor syndrome, and critical pedagogy. These concepts will allow for an understanding of the factors that contribute to minority student academic achievement while addressing the issues pertaining to systematic racism that may interfere with their achievement. I take a qualitative approach to address the ways minority students communicate about their identity and their experience in higher education. The study utilizes respondent interviews and focus group methods to examine factors of the minority student identity which contribute to or interfere with academic performance and their overall success. Successfully addressing this will lead to an effective proposal for shortening the academic achievement gap.